THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's office in Wayanad district of Kerala was vandalised by activists of the Students Federation of India (SFI), affiliated to the ruling CPM, on Friday.
SFI activists were protesting against Gandhi's alleged silence over the recent Supreme Court directive that national parks and wildlife sanctuaries must have an eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) of minimum one km from the demarcated boundary of a protected forest. Rahul Gandhi is MP from Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency.
However, Gandhi had recently written to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan urging him to convey to the Centre the concerns of the people of Kerala regarding the SC directive.
The SFI activists who barged into Gandhi's parliamentary party office in Kalpetta smashed windows, damaged furniture and beat up workers. The police, which arrived at the spot, used force to disperse the SFI mob.
Later, Congress workers led by Congress MLA T. Siddique took out a protest march to Wayanad SP office and demanded immediate arrest of SFI activists responsible for the attack. The Congress leadership alleged that the CPM had planned the attack to gratify Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP central leadership.
"We suspect a conspiracy behind the attack,” said AICC general secretary K.C. Venugopal who also sought Chief Minister Vijayan’s reaction to the attack. The CM and his party workers want to please the Sangh Parivar, he said.
Vijayan condemned the attack as condemnable, in a statement. “This is a country where there is freedom to organise protests and express views in a democratic manner. However, such protests taking a violent turn indicates a wrong trend. The government will take strong action against those behind the incident,” the Chief Minister said.
The LDF leadership also distanced itself from the attack on Gandhi’s office. “There is no need to take out a protest march to Rahul Gandhi’s office. I have no idea why the march was organised,” said LDF convener E.P. Jayarajan.
He said Gandhi was being hounded by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). “We are against the misuse of ED by the Central government against political leaders from the opposition parties,” he said.